Summary. “The Region” is made up of multiple towns and communities within Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties. It neighbors Lake Michigan and as part of the Chicago metropolitan area, serves as the city’s southeast suburbs. Northwest Indiana has a population of over 800,000 and is the state’s second largest urban area after the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area. Whether you call Valparaiso, Michigan City, Chesterton, Portage, Merrillville, Munster or any of the other towns in the region home, we know that when we come out to inspect we will find a variety of housing that ranges from private waterfront homes, to golf course communities, to planned subdivisions. We understand that the region offers a wide choice of housing alternatives. Each of the towns and villages within the area have varying access to downtown Chicago via the South Shore train line, Borman Expressway, and the Indiana Skyway. As much as people outside “The Region” like to lump Northwest Indiana together, each of the towns are unique and care must be taken to evaluate the differences in each area.
Education. School districts and the proximity to the commuter trains and highways are often determining factors when new residents begin their search for a home in the Northwest Indiana area. As such, these factors can have a direct impact on your valuation. Lot size and subdivision amenities are also important to buyers in these markets. Wherever your home resides, it is important that your appraiser be familiar with the impact that all of these factors can have on your home’s value.
Culture. The Lake Michigan shore is a major attraction in the area. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which stretches from Gary to Michigan City, is a well-preserved stretch of sand dunes, beaches, grasslands, and forests, as well as home to several historical homes and buildings. The lake and it’s appeal has a direct impact on values in the area. Additionally the tax rates in the Northwest Indiana area are traditionally much lower than those in the neighboring suburbs in Illinois. This tends to to draw interested buyers across the state line in search of savings.
Commerce. The northern portion of Northwest Indiana is noted for its heavy industry. Gary, Portage, Burns Harbor and East Chicago are home to major steel mills, including the largest North American facilities for both U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal. Whiting and Hammond are home to the largest oil refinery in the Midwestern U.S., operated by BP. Other industrial outputs include fabricated metals, transportation equipment, and food products. All of these economic factors contribute to a unique and ever-changing housing market that requires a distinct local perspective.
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